Today’s Teens: Is Reading a Dying Art?

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BlogPostGraphic_TodaysTeensAs an educator, there’s a pretty good chance you grew up loving to read. Today, you enjoy nothing more than immersing yourself in a good book.  The characters, the plot, the language—everything about reading fires up your imagination. You probably have a stack of books on your nightstand, ready to read. And your love of reading doesn’t stop with fiction. Your everyday literacy diet includes magazines, newspapers, and web sites. You love it all.

Many teenagers today aren’t like that.  They see reading as a tedious and difficult chore. They much prefer Continue reading

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Play Time: It Does a Lot More than Just Get the “Wiggles” Out

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BlogPostGraphic_PlayTimeAs teachers, we all know about stress. Oh, do we. In fact, teaching is considered to be one of the most stressful careers.

On our feet all day, we’re juggling meetings, overwhelming paperwork, concerns about standards, high-stakes testing, and difficult parents. And then there are the students…little angels they are NOT.

Most of us think of stress as something adults feel. But children are feeling it, too. Under pressure to learn more faster, test better, and get better grades, too many students today are feeling the negative effects and suffering from Continue reading

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Gifted Students and the $1,000 Question

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BlogPostGraphic_GiftedStudentsThere are so many debates swirling around the idea of gifted students. Educators go back and forth on what gifted really means, how to identify and measure giftedness, whether you are born with it or it is developed.

Think back to the first day of school when you stood before a classroom of bright, shiny faces. If someone offered you a $1,000 if you could pick out the gifted students in the room, could you do it?

Good luck with that one! Identifying a gifted child is hardly an exact science. Neither is Continue reading

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My Personal Journey to Better Instruction

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BlogPostGraphic_PlaceholderBy Ricky Mikelman, SDE Educational Consultant

Here’s a not-so-secret secret.  I’m not always a great teacher.  And I certainly wasn’t always a great teacher.  It’s been a long and a really interesting journey.  It’s involved two states, five school districts, six different grades, multiple job descriptions and credentials, and too many inservices and staff meetings to count.  Sometimes, it leaves me frustrated and tired, but I wouldn’t do it too much differently.

I started after I had my children.  I really wanted to be a kindergarten teacher, but at my first interview, they couldn’t picture me with kinders and hired me to teach fifth grade.  I’d done some of my student teaching in fifth grade, but it wasn’t where my heart was.  Those poor kids!  Continue reading

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Weekly Graders Rarely Make History

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By Terra Tarango, President of SDE

Short-term teaching can be convenient, predictable, and even rewarding. There’s something safe and secure about delivering content in expected chunks, with the familiar test on Friday. But, you didn’t get into teaching with a goal of having your 4th grade class achieve a 95% on their weekly spelling test, did you?

You got into teaching for the long-term game. You wanted to inspire the next generation of thought leaders or inventors; you wanted to be the face that Continue reading

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